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close this bookTrainee's Manual on Disaster Preparedness (European Commission Humanitarian Office, 59 p.)
close this folderModule III. Planning in the Handling of Disasters
View the documentSession III. NEEDS ASSESSMENT
View the documentSession V. THE COUNTER-DISASTER PLAN (CDP)


A. Definition

A COUNTER-DISASTER PLAN is a plan that outlines all the mitigating and possible courses of action not only when a disaster occurs but as well as when preparing for possible disasters so that its effect would not be immense.

B. Significance of CDP in DM

The purpose of planning is to anticipate future situations and requirements, thus, ensuring the application of effective and coordinated counter-measures. This is a useful suggestion to disaster management officials because it indicates the wide nature of requirements for counter-disaster planning. In other words, planning should not be confined merely to preparedness for and response to specific disaster events; it should cater, as far as possible, to the whole scope of the disaster management cycle.

C. Elements of CDP

1. Introduction

a. Rationale

This is the “why” of the plan. It states the reason why the plan is drafted and the circumstances surrounding the drafting of the Plan.

b. Scope

States the size of the problem/threat, probable effects to people and the environment.

c. Assumption

This is an important step which serves as a background to guide the planning effort. This is resorted to if the situation changes later where there exists the need to revise the plan. Examples of planning assumptions are: (Earthquake)

· Earthquakes may occur without warning and at the time of day that will produce a maximum number of casualties. Access to and from the damaged area may be severely disrupted or destroyed.

· Damage resulting from a catastrophic earthquake will be widespread. Seismic-caused ground motions will vary within a geographical region and so will resulting damage. Complete facility shutdown may be required for some period of time. Personnel at work will want to return home to check on their families and property.

d. Concept of Operations

Talks of the mechanisms employed in responding or reacting to a disaster situation. It also defines the extent of operations by the responding units.

e. Legal Authorities

Discusses the legal aspects of disaster prevention and mitigation. It also highlights the legal tension between the interest of the individuals and the community which may arise from the adoption of the techniques discussed.

2. Organizational Structure

A suitable organizational structure is one with an Emergency Operations Center or centers and with all functional elements and organizations being given definite responsibilities and authority as appropriate. Provision must also be made for adequate liaison between key persons and organizations. Unless lines of responsibility and authority are clear before an emergency or disaster, effective coordination and control of counter-measures will prove difficult, if not impossible. Care should therefore be taken to establish the type of organization structure that will ensure coordination and control under the pressures of an emergency situation. At the same time, the structure must be sufficiently straight-forward to be operated by available personnel. In allocating roles and responsibilities within a plan, it is very important to do so clearly. Overlapping or duplication of roles causes friction between organizations and leads to loss of organizations involved and leads to loss of effectiveness. Gaps between the roles of organizations may mean that important, perhaps, vital measures are not undertaken.

3. Coordinative Tasks

These include:

· Integration of tasks especially those which are related

· Activation of the Disaster Coordinating Council

· Coordination with other task units. When a particular task unit coordinates with another unit, it either briefs, consults, considers, decides and plans for effective disaster management.

4. Resources

Resources are of two types: human and material. Again, they should be assessed in terms of:

· Capability
· Availability
· Durability

It is a must for the implementors of disaster preparedness to know what resources are needed and where are they found and available to ensure smooth and spontaneous disaster response.

5. Reporting & Recording

These processes are paramount for easy locating and consulting by all concerned. It is a sad fact that a disaster is usually nasty and dirty, disruptive and unpleasant. As a result, crisis pressure generated by disaster impact has all kinds of unwanted effects like loss of vital communications, destruction or delayed availability of planned resources (transport, relief supplies), and disruption to the very system which has been designed to deal with disaster. All these effects will necessitate reporting and recording.

6. Updating of Plans

This stage will identify those persons responsible in updating the Plan and how often should a plan be updated.

D. Characteristics of an effective CDP

A disaster plan must be:

S - imple
M - easurable
A - ttainable
R - ealistic
T - ime-bound

Simple - the plan should be formulated in such a way that it is easy to use. References within the plan should be clear and readily identifiable. The body of the plan needs to be kept as clear and concise as possible with annexes being used for very detailed information.

Measurable - the plan should be measured in terms of effects being mitigated. How many were dead, injured, missing, etc. before and now. This calls for a comparative study of data of effects which will serve as basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the plan.

Attainable - the plan should answer the question: ‘Were the objectives met?’ It should be fully viable for the purposes for which it is designed.

Realistic - the plan should relate to an accurate assessment of the disaster threat and take into account the scale and capability of counter-disaster resources which are available.

Time-bound - the plan should be able to meet the date targeted for the different activities to be undertaken like planning, training, organizing, stockpiling, establishment of EOC, etc.

E. Levels of Planning

1. National

The national disaster plan is likely to be the main plan. Therefore, it needs a broad scope, ranging from policy matters down to detailed action. This plan provides government and civilian agencies with a plan of action in the event of natural disaster or calamity. This plan also attempts to place in print all the conceivable actions that may be required of the agencies concerned, government or otherwise, prior to, during and after a disaster. It is by no means complete and its completion will depend on subsequent contributions learned in the future.

2. Regional

The regional level plan undertakes all possible contingencies in crisis management making use of all available resources, both government and private. This plan shall be made operational through the establishment of a regional organization (RDCC) for emergencies that will provide the vehicle for a concerted and coordinated disaster control efforts from the regional level down to the provincial, city/municipal and barangay levels. Also, this organization shall exercise direction and control, through the Office of Civil Defense, over all emergency operations from the province down to the lowest political subdivisions/councils. It shall likewise provide top executive political subdivisions/councils. It shall likewise provide top executive management and control over multi-departmental types of disaster-stabilization operations.

3. Provincial

The provincial plan is a plan that addresses the contingencies obtaining in the province utilizing all its available resources, organizations and facilities. The provincial offices of the departments shall provide similar support/assistance to the provincial disaster coordinating councils organized at the provincial level.

4. Municipal/City

This municipal/city disaster plan of the disaster coordinating council will be responding to the disasters frequenting the area. This council shall be established to compliment the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council.

5. Barangay/Community

One of the main requirements of the local plan is, therefore, to coordinate activities of various existing services (e.g., security, fire brigade, medical and voluntary organizations). Similarly, the plan needs to facilitate the participation of self-help groups and community members, utilizing traditional knowledge, skill, and previous disaster-related experiences. It is at this level that the members of the disaster coordinating organization/council draw up a one-year action plan which will consist of the different disaster-related activities during the three phases of disaster management - before, during and post disaster.

F. The CDP Format

1. How to Prepare CDP
2. Factors to consider